Marisa Petroro is an American film and television actress and model from Elizabeth, New Jersey, who is of Italian and Argentine decent. She is recognized for developing a diverse range of on-screen personalities - it's no wonder this Jersey girl has made a spot for herself in Hollywood.
At the tender age of four, Marisa started participating in East Coast beauty pageants. By eight, this young starlet was taking trips to New York City to study acting at the highly acclaimed HB Studio. After making the pageant circuit as a teenager, Marisa won the title of Miss Italia USA and then retired her pageant days after she went on to place top five in Miss Italia World in 1996.
Marisa then crafted a five-year road-map, packed her bags and convinced a good friend to join her on a 3,000 mile cross-country drive that ended in Los Angeles. Within the first few years, Marisa was landing principal roles in hit films such as MGM's 'Pumpkin' and Columbia Pictures' 'Tomcats'. Also during this breakout period, she built notable television credits on NBC's 'The Pretender', CBS's 'The Young and the Restless', a national commercial directed by David Lynch and starred opposite Rick Schroder in the award winning country music video, Whiskey Lullaby, sung by Allison Krause and Brad Paisley.
2008 was another banner year for this seasoned actor as she starred in the Roadside Attraction's feature film, 'Everybody Wants to Be Italian', the story of the struggle of two Italians and their quest to win each other's hearts in Boston's famed North End. She had also returned for season four as one of the most recognized briefcase models (#18) on NBC's top game show 'Deal or No Deal', as well as landed roles on CBS's popular sitcom 'Rules of Engagement', acting alongside David Spade [Saturday Night Live] and ABC's award winning comedy drama series 'Desperate Housewives', acting alongside Eva Longoria Parker.
This year, fans will get to see Marisa in a new light on the entertainment industry's latest medium, the Web. Due out later this year via Film.com is S.U.D.S. (Simian Undercover Detective Squad), an original online series featuring puppets from The Jim Henson Company. She can now be seen on Duck Walks Into A Bar - Episode: Men & Hunting, a comedy about a dirty mouthed duck who tests his sharp tongue with nightly barflies. And 'In The Bath With Kath' - Aspartame Episode, a comedy shot from the sanctity of a bubble bath.
Outside of acting, Marisa holds philanthropy close to her heart. She recently accepted a second term as spokesperson for the Sarcoma Foundation of America (SFA), an organization dedicated to increasing sarcoma related research. In fact Marisa, a cancer survivor of Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare childhood sarcoma that affects the muscles, has said that taking on this responsibility has allowed her to achieve one of her lifetime goals. Not only does she participate in a variety of programs and events to help SFA fulfill its mission, she continues to volunteer her time to helping individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer and are undergoing chemotherapy.
Currently, Marisa is involved with multiple nonprofit and charity organizations including the Tomorrow's Children Fund at the Hackensack University Medical Center, The Young Storytellers Foundation, Tag the World, Operation Shoebox New Jersey, The Embrace Kids Foundation, Team Sarcoma - Los Angeles, Crime Survivors, Redwing 19 and The Sarcoma Foundation of America.
Over the past two years, Marisa has been Commencement Speaker at her alma mater, Kean University in New Jersey and was honored as "Woman of the Year" by The Center for Italian and Italian-American Culture in her home state of New Jersey. She also contributed to the book The Vision Board: The Secret to An Extraordinary Life by Joyce Schwarz.
David Lynch directed her first national commercial for Clear Blue Easy pregnancy test in 1997.
Attended Rutgers' University for a year and then moved on to graduate Kean University with a Cum Laude degree in Marketing.
Miss Italia USA 1996. She placed in the Top Five for the title of Miss Italia World 1996.
Marisa is a cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare childhood cancer, when she was 19.
Cover model for Lilt Perms hair product.
Fluent in Italian.
At age 20, she produced and directed her own children's pageant, Little Miss New Jersey State.
Actor turned director, Rick Schroder, hired her to star with him in a country music video for Alison Krauss and Brad Paisley called "Whiskey Lullaby". The video won Music Video Of The Year 2004 at the CMA awards on CBS.
Listed as one of the "Most Amazing Newcomers" by Stuff Magazine (2003)
Listed as #103 in Stuff Magazine's "103 Sexiest Women In The World" (2003).
Shares the same birthday as Jennifer Aniston.
Listed in the 2006 People Magazine's "100 Most Beautiful People."
2007 Woman Of The Year for The Center For Italian and Italian-American Culture.
2007 Commencement Speaker at her alma mater, Kean University, in New Jersey.
2008 National Spokesperson for The Sarcoma Foundation Of America.
2009 National Spokesperson for The Sarcoma Foundation Of America.
2010 National Spokesperson for The Sarcoma Foundation Of America.
Worked with Danish director, Nicolas Winding Refn, in Thailand, for a 2011 Spies Travel commercial campaign.
(July 2002) "LOCK-UP" a female-inmate drama at The Lillian Theater in Hollywood...Tuesdays/Wednesdays July 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31 @ 8pm
(November 2003) "The Sensitive, Straight Guy", a situational comedy about four friends living in LA. Performing at The Acme Comedy Theater in Hollywood...November 4, 5, 11, 12, 18 & 19.
(August 2004) Lead actress in the country music video "Whiskey Lullabye" currently airing on CMT. Actor Rick Schroder directed the 1940s piece with award winning artists Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss.
(December 2005) Model on Deal or No Deal
(September 2008) Observing Finalist at The Actors Studio.
(November 2010) Shooting Spies Travel commercial with Danish director, Nicolas Winding Refn, in Phuket, Thailand.
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